They have acted in just two films together, but the ‘yaarana’ between Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn goes beyond all filmi scripts, written for Bollywood’s silver screen.
Their first outing together was for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999, with the lovely Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) torn between both the men on screen. Then, 10 years later, Vipul Shah cast Salman and Ajay in London Dreams – strangely a film about two friends between whom there is no jealousy, no complexities. After which Ajay was briefly seen in a cameo in Salman’s blockbuster Ready last year.
Now comes the news that Salman has made himself available to do an item number for Ajay’s film Son of Sardar – and not surprisingly, he's not charging a single penny from his old friend. Truly, the actor lives upto his screen promise in Wanted: “Ek baar jo commitment kardi…”
The story goes that the two actors have been friends since boyhood, because their fathers – Bollywood writer Salim Khan and stunt director Veeru Devgn – were great friends. And while Salman and Ajay may not have had as much presence in each other’s lives once they grew up, there is no doubt that the actors have had quite an influence on one another.
“We are second generation friends,” Salman is reported to have said when London Dreams was releasing in 2009. “Ajay’s debut film Phool Aur Kaante came out more or less the same time as I did Maine Pyar Kiya.” Speaking on why they had not acted together before this and since Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999, Ajay said during the release of London Dreams, “Actors don’t plan such things. It’s not that I must do a film with Salman. We are hearing scripts all the time. London Dreams seemed like the right one – so we just went ahead.”
Well, their second film did not meet with the same overwhelming response as the first one did. But that did not stop Salman from tweeting when Ajay was working on his body for Singham, “Oye teri!!! Baap re baap. Superb Ajay's body is looking. Too good.” Delighted by the compliment, Ajay retorted, “Salman is a friend. We all support each other. People say it’s rivalry between stars but his tweet proves that there is no rivalry. We started are careers 20 years back but we have no enmity.”
In earlier interviews given to the Bollywood press on the occasion of World Friendship Day (August 2), Salman and Ajay spoke fondly of their friendship and “being comfortable in each other’s company” whenever they meet. Ajay had said, “I know there are 10,000 things being said about Salman, but I’ve not seen that side of him. He’s a great guy, he’s honest with people he believes are genuine, and never has issues with those that are straight.” Of working with Salman, who is notorious for bringing his own brand of ethics to the sets, Ajay said, “There’s no stress, no tension, he’s funny on the sets.” Salman had repaid the compliments handsomely. “Ajay’s the most chilled out guy I know, a super friend, there’s no back-biting, no stealing of lines, no oneupmanship with Ajay on the sets. It’s nice working with him, he’s not a chindi chor, he won’t influence directors or grab your space. He does not interfere with co-stars.”
Commenting on why they don’t socialise, Salman cheekily replied, "Arre he’s a married man, he’s got a wife and kids and his own life… I’ve lots of time to reach that stage!”